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BioSpace Movers & Shakers, October 15th


Biopharma and life sciences companies strengthen their leadership teams and executive boards with these Movers & Shakers. 

Reneo Pharmaceuticals – Ashley F. Hall was named chief development officer at California-based Reneo Pharmaceuticals. Hall will oversee nonclinical and clinical operations, global regulatory affairs, pharmaceutical development, and program management for all the company’s development programs. Prior to Reneo, Hall was the CDO and head of Global Regulatory Affairs at Esperion Therapeutics. Before that, she was the Global Regulatory Lead at Amgen.

Minerva Neurosciences – Geoff Race, chief financial officer and chief business officer, was promoted to president. Minerva’s chief accounting officer, Frederick Ahlholm, has been promoted to CFO. Race was one of the founders of Minerva. He has served as executive vice president and CFO since May 2014, and CBO since January 2016. Prior to Minerva, he served as chief executive officer of Funxional Therapeutics Ltd. He also previously served as CFO at PanGenetics B.V. Ahlholm joined Minerva as a consultant in January 2014, and then held the position of CAO. Prior to Minerva, he served as vice president of finance and CAO for Amarin Corporation plc.

ChemoCentryx – Rita I. Jain was named chief medical officer. In this role, she will oversee development activities including clinical development, development operations, regulatory affairs, and drug safety and pharmacovigilance. Jain previously served as CMO of Immunovant, Inc. and prior to that CMO of Akebia Therapeutics, Inc. Before Akebia, Jain was vice president of Men’s and Women’s Health and Metabolic Development at AbbVie, Inc., and prior to that served in various leadership roles including Divisional Vice President at Abbott Laboratories.

Tower Surgical Partners – Cresia Walker was named COO of Maryland-based Tower Surgical Partners. Prior to joining Tower Surgical Partners, Walker served as an executive administrator at the George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates. Additionally, Walker previously served as Director of Operations at Pediatric Specialists of Virginia.

IGM Biosciences – IGM formed two two business units: IGM Infectious Diseases and IGM Autoimmunity and Inflammation. Mary Beth Harler was named president of the IGM Autoimmunity and Inflammation business unit. Harler served most recently as head of Immunology and Fibrosis Development at Bristol Myers Squibb. Prior to that, Harler served in positions of increasing responsibility at BMS, including head of Innovative Medicines Development and head of Innovative Clinical Development in the cardiovascular, fibrosis, immunoscience and genetically-defined diseases group. To lead the IGM Infectious Diseases business unit, IGM today tapped John Shiver and Tong-Ming Fu, ac Chief strategy officer and chief scientific officer. Shiver was most recently head of Vaccine Research and Development at Sanofi Pasteur. Prior to joining Sanofi, Shiver held positions of increasing responsibility at Merck, most recently as vice president of Vaccine and Biologics Basic Research and Global Vaccine Research Franchise Head. Fu served most recently as Head of Vaccine Research, North America, at Sanofi Pasteur. Prior to his time at Sanofi, Fu was a research scientist in vaccines and biologics at Merck.

Xilio Therapeutics – Timothy D. Hunt was named chief culture and corporate affairs officer. He most recently served as chief corporate affairs officer at Editas Medicine, Inc. Prior to Editas, he was senior vice president of public affairs for Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Before joining Cubist, Hunt was vice president of public affairs at Biogen Inc.

Calyxt, Inc. – Seth Dobrin was appointed as a member of the scientific advisory board. Dobrin is the Global Chief Artificial Intelligence (AI) Officer at IBM. Prior to IBM, Dobrin held roles of increasing responsibility at the Monsanto Company as the director for the Center of Medical Genetics and as a scientist at the Translational Genomics Research Institute.

Galera Therapeutics – March J. Bachleda was named CCO and Jennifer Evans Stacey was named chief legal and compliance officer at Gelera. Prior to joining Galera, Backleda served as vice president & U.S. Business Unit Head for Bristol Myers Squibb’s CAR T cell therapy franchise. Prior to BMS, he was Vice President of Sales at Juno Therapeutics. Stacey previously served as general counsel at The Wistar Institute. Prior to her role at Wistar, she was the Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Human Resources and Secretary for Antares Pharma.

InteRNA Technologies – Andrea van Elsas was appointed to the company’s supervisory board. Previously, he served as chief scientific officer at Aduro Biotech. Before that, he held various positions at Organon, which was acquired by Schering-Plough and later by Merck.

Vor Biopharma – Veit Schmelmer was appointed senior vice president of Program and Alliance Management. Schmelmer will oversee the management of Vor’s key programs. Prior to joining Vor, Schmelmer was most recently vice president and Project Lead at Magenta Therapeutics. He previously served as vice president of Portfolio Strategy at Mersana Therapeutics. Schmelmer also served as Global Project Leader for Takeda Pharmaceuticals International.

Coya Therapeutics – Gene Mack was named CFO of Coya. Prior to joining Coya Therapeutics, Mack was CFO of OncoC4 overseeing the spin-out and negotiation of Merck MSD’s acquisition of OncoImmune. Since 2014, he has held the CFO role for several private and public biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

Spero Therapeutics – Kathleen Tergoning was appointed to the board of directors. Tergoning is currently chief corporate affairs officer at Cereval Therapeutics. She succeeds outgoing Director Jean-François Formela, who has stepped down from Spero’s Board as part of a planned transition, effective upon Tregoning’s appointment. Prior to Cerevel, Tregoning served as Executive Vice President for External Affairs at Sanofi, where she led an integrated organization to develop external engagement strategies and optimize patient access to therapies. Prior to her time at Sanofi, Tregoning spent more than 10 years at Biogen, first as Vice President, Public Policy & Government Affairs and then as Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs.

Curative Biotechnology – Catherine Sohn joined the company as a special advisor to the board of directors and chief executive officer. Sohn is president of Sohn Health Strategies and Adjunct Professor at the University of California, San Francisco.

Abeona Therapeutics – Jon Voss was named Head of Quality after serving as a consultant to the company. Previously, Voss served as head of Global Quality at Cellectis SA. Voss has also served in multiple senior quality roles within Sarepta Therapeutics, Inc., Generation Bio Co., and Genzyme Corporation.

Syros Pharmaceuticals – Jason Haas was named CFO of Syros. Haas most recently served as co-head of Americas, Healthcare Investment Banking at Barclays. Prior to joining Barclays in 2016, he served as Head of Americas, Healthcare Investment Banking at Deutsche Bank.

Satsuma Pharmaceuticals – Mutya Harsch was appointed to the board of directors. She currently serves as General Counsel, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary of VYNE Therapeutics. Prior to joining VYNE Therapeutics in March 2020, Harsch served as General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer of Foamix Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

Travere Therapeutics – Noah Rosenberg is leaving his executive advisor role at the end of 2021. Rosenberg is expected to serve as an advisor to the Company throughout 2022 to assist with clinical trial oversight and regulatory submissions. A search to identify a successor to Rosenberg is underway while the company continues to execute its clinical programs as planned.

Foundation Medicine – Dymeka Harrison was named CCO. Harrison joins Foundation Medicine from Abbott Laboratories, where she most recently served as Head of Strategic Marketing. Harrison previously held roles at QIAGEN, bioMérieux, and Thermo Fisher.

CRISPR Therapeutics – Brendan Smith was named CFO of CRISPR Therapeutics. He succeeds Michael Tomsicek, who is retiring after four years of service to the Company. It is expected that Tomsicek will remain with the company in an advisory role through the end of 2021 to help ensure a smooth transition. Prior to CRISPR Therapeutics, Smith was the CFO & Corporate Strategy of Translate Bio. Previously, as a Partner at Boston Consulting Group, Smith led integrated biopharma client engagements that included planning and executing on R&D strategy, operations, business development and deal diligence. Prior to that, Smith was head of Business Operations for Worldwide R&D at Pfizer.

Kojin Therapeutics – Luba Greenwood was named CEO of Kojin. Greenwood has co-founded biotech and digital health companies in immunotherapy, women’s health, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and the microbiome space, and as a life sciences and biotech expert, lectures at Harvard University in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Her leadership roles have spanned Roche, Google, and Pfizer and most recently Greenwood served as a Managing Partner at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s venture fund, Binney Street Capital.

Verismo Therapeutics – Laura Johnson was named CSO of Verismo, a spinout of the University of Pennsylvania. Johnson joins Verismo from GlaxoSmithKline Oncology, where she was head of preclinical translational research, and more recently, of clinical biomarkers for cell and gene therapy in the Experimental Medicine Unit.

Immunic – Patrick Walsh was named chief business officer of Immunic. Walsh will be responsible for business development, including strategic partnering opportunities. Walsh joins Immunic from Akebia Therapeutics, Inc., where he served as vice president of Business Development. Walsh was previously in Corporate Development at AVEO Oncology. Earlier in his career, he was a consultant to life science companies with Capgemini SE and was on the healthcare investment banking team at Leerink Partners, now SVB Leerink.

Kriya Therapeutics – Theresa Heah was named CMO and president of Kriya’s newly-launched Kriya Ophthalmology. Heah will be responsible for advancing Kriya’s current pipeline of ophthalmology gene therapies and continuing to expand Kriya’s ophthalmology portfolio through its in-house R&D and business development engines. Heah previously served as CMO and executive vice president of Operations for AsclepiX Therapeutics. Prior to joining AsclepiX Therapeutics, Heah served as CMO at Applied Genetic Technologies Corporation. She has also held several leadership positions with increasing responsibility in early-stage private companies (Fovea Pharmaceuticals), publicly traded companies (Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Allergan) and big pharmaceutical companies (Bayer Healthcare, Sanofi).

Excision BioTherapeutics – CRISPR company Excision BioTherapeutics appointed Sara Turken as General Counsel, Manish Anand as senior vice president of Regulatory Affairs and Robert Gunning as Controller. Turken joins Excision from Rocket Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where she was Head of Legal, Compliance Officer & Corporate Secretary. Prior to joining Rocket, she was Deputy General Counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretary at AgNovos Healthcare. Anand most recently served as vice president of Regulatory Affairs at Asklepios Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. Prior to that, Anand was Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs at Cellectis S.A. Anand served in multiple regulatory roles earlier in his career including at Symic Bio, Inc., Portola Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Amplify Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Biomarin Pharmaceutical, Inc., MacuSight, Inc., Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and MedImmune, Inc. Gunning was previously CFO and head of Finance Transformation at Advanced Accelerator Applications USA, Inc., a Novartis subsidiary. Previously, Gunning was the Director of Financial Reporting and Director of SEC Reporting for Amec Foster Wheeler plc.